FAQs about Ark Start

Discover answers to our most asked questions below.

Fees, hours & holidays

Can I pay for hourly childcare?

You must buy childcare by the session either term time only or all year round. Our sessions are:

  • 9am – midday
  • Midday – 3pm
  • 8am – 9am 
  • 3pm – 5pm

 

If you are entitled to 15 funded hours, this equates to:

  • 5 sessions per week, term time only
  • 4 sessions per week, all year round

 

If you’re entitled to 30 funded hours, this equates to:

  • 10 sessions per week, term time only
  • 8 sessions per week, all year round
What do my fees cover?

Fees cover everything with the exception of snacks and meals; nappies and wipes; and certain offsite visits – we publish these at the beginning of the year so families can plan.

Do I need to pay extra for meals and snacks while my child is at nursery?

Yes. We charge £2.50 for lunch and snacks each 9-3 day (or just 40p for snacks if you bring a packed lunch). For an 8-5 day we charge £3.50 for lunch, tea and snacks Inc. breakfast (or just 60p for snacks if you bring a packed lunch). We do this to try and keep fees as low as possible. If you have any trouble paying these, please come and speak to the office staff. 

How will I be invoiced?

You will be invoiced monthly, in advance. When payments have not been made, the nursery reserves the right to remove any fee-incurring sessions or lunches from future bookings until the debt is cleared.

Is there a registration fee (or deposit)?

No, we don’t require a registration fee or deposit.

Will I still be charged while I’m on holiday?

Yes, if you take a holiday during your booked sessions, you will be charged. You will not be charged when the nursery is closed.

What are your opening hours?

We are open from 8am – 5pm every day. We are closed for 4 weeks a year and for bank holidays.

Do you offer nursery at the weekend?

No. We run from 8am – 5pm Monday to Friday.

How do I change my booking pattern?

Parents are required to give one month’s notice (or three month’s notice in Croydon, if they are using the funding codes) if they wish to change their booking pattern. This notice needs to be given through Famly, our nursery booking system. Nursery staff cannot agree to booking changes directly.

What are the typical operating hours of nurseries in the UK?

Nurseries operate all sorts of hours. At Ark Start, we run 8am – 5pm.

What age range do nurseries in the UK cater to?

Nurseries serve a range of ages from as young as 3 months to the day children start school (the legal requirement is to start school the term after a child turns 5). At Ark Start, we offer places for children age 1 and older. 

Funding

What funding support can I access?

The government offer support for childcare costs. You can check your entitlements here. Alternatively, you can speak to our nursery team who will help you understand your entitlements. You may also be entitled to tax free childcare, find out more here.  

When can my child start claiming the 3 & 4 year funding?

3-year-olds will be able to start a funded nursery place in the September, January or April following their third birthday. Their birthday must be before 31st March for funding from Summer Term (April), 31st August for Autumn Term (September) & 31st December for Spring Term (January). 

I'm entitled to 15 funded hours - how can I access them?

Term Time Only – 5 sessions / week. 

In general, the following options are available:

School day

Morning and afternoon sessions Monday and Tuesday and morning session on Wednesday

Or afternoon session on Wednesday and morning and afternoon sessions on Thursday and Friday

Full days

Morning, afternoon and wrap around session one day a week with a morning and afternoon session on the other day 

 

All year round – 4 sessions / week

School day

9am – 3pm Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday 

I'm entitled to 30 funded hours - how can I access them?

Term Time Only – 10 sessions / week. 

In general, the following options are available:

School day

Morning and afternoon sessions Monday to Friday

Full days

Morning, afternoon and wrap around sessions two days a week

Morning and afternoon sessions two days a week

All year round – 8 sessions / week

Morning and afternoon sessions four days a week 

Morning, afternoon and wrap around sessions two days a week and one morning and afternoon session one day a week

Discounts

Do you accept tax-free childcare?

Yes. You first need to apply for tax-free childcare here. You can talk to the office staff for more information.

Staff

What qualifications should nursery staff have?

As a minimum, 50% of staff in any nursery must hold a full and relevant qualification. At Ark Start, our nurseries are led by qualified teachers and we support all our staff to keep learning in line with our values – from apprentices working towards a level three to staff taking on graduate or even post-graduate qualifications.

You can find out more about our team here.

What is the ratio of staff to children in UK nurseries?

The staff to child ratio in the UK is laid out in law: 1:8 for three and four year olds (or 1:13 if there is a qualified teacher in the room); 1: 4 for two year olds and 1:3 for under 2s.

Leaving Ark Start

Is there a notice period for leaving the nursery?

Parents are required to give one month’s notice (or three month’s notice in Croydon, if they are using the funding codes) if their child is no longer going to attend an Ark Start Nursery. This notice needs to be done through Famly, our nursery booking system. Nursery staff cannot agree to booking changes directly.

Do you offer support for children transitioning between nursery and school?

We aim to make transitions as minimal as possible and work hard with children to ensure they are ready and excited to start school. When we can, we will accompany groups of children to visit their new primary school and share information between settings.

So much more than childcare